A DUNBAR flight attendant is planning to take part in the highest commercial abseil in the world to raise cash to help send sick and disabled children on the holiday of a lifetime.
Lee-Anne Murdie (36) will join a 19-strong team, including other members of British Airways cabin crew, to step off Table Mountain in South Africa — 1,000 metres above sea level — on March 3.
Funds raised will go to Dreamflight, a UK charity established in 1986 to give the youngsters a holiday to the theme parks of Florida.
A Boeing 747 jumbo jet is chartered from British Airways which transports 192 seriously ill and disabled children and 96 volunteer medical staff, helpers and cabin crew Stateside in October each year.
Lee-Anne explained that more than £750,000 needed to be raised annually for the trip. She said: “It aims to give children who perhaps can’t wait long enough for the medical breakthrough they need or whose illnesses and treatments have brought pain and disruption to their lives, the holiday of a lifetime in Florida. They encounter all the thrills and excitement of the theme parks they may never otherwise get to experience.
“The children are nominated by doctors and the people who volunteer fund-raise to send the children to Florida —- it costs £3,500 per child. I go on the trip once a year and have been doing it for two years now. We spend the whole 10 days with the children. We get treated like VIPs in America and get a police escort to the Holiday Inn at International Drive.
“It is absolutely exhausting but the children, who range in age from eight to 14, keep you going. They are amazing and so inspiring.”
She added: “It is also like a party on the flight — we decorate the plane. It’s all for the children to have fun.”
Before they leave for Florida, the youngsters enjoy a big party in London during which they meet the Welsh Guards as well as celebrities.
Lee-Anne said the highlight of the trip for the children was swimming with dolphins at Discovery Cove.
She added: “With the abseil we hope to raise enough for three children to go over. We have a target of about £10,000 but we are at £7,000 already.”
Lee-Anne is also holding a 70s/80s disco at Dunbar British Legion on Friday, March 23, at 7.30pm. Tickets as well as raffle tickets are available from Beadazzle, High Street, Dunbar.
Donations can be made through JustGiving at www.justgiving.com/table-mountain-abseil.